Simon Arthur Noël Raven (28 December 1927 – 12 May 2001) was an English novelist, essayist, dramatist and raconteur who, in a writing career of forty years, caused controversy, amusement and offence. His obituary in The Guardian noted that, "he combined elements of Flashman, Waugh's Captain Grimes and the Earl of Rochester", and that he reminded Noel Annan, his Cambridge tutor, of the young Guy Burgess.
Among the many things said about him, perhaps the most quoted was that he had "the mind of a cad and the pen of an angel". E W Swanton called Raven's cricket memoir Shadows on the Grass "the filthiest cricket book ever written". Typically, Raven's response to this was to ask Swanton's permission to quote this opinion on the book's jacket. He has also been called "cynical" and "cold-blooded", his characters "guaranteed to behave badly under pressure; most of them are vile without any pressure at all". His unashamed credo was "a robust eighteenth-century paganism....allied to a deep contempt for the egalitarian code of post-war England"
He was born on 28 December 1927 H e was the eldest of three children. His father, Arthur Raven, had inherited a fortune from the family's hosiery business, and lived an idle life of leisure. His mother Esther, née Christmas, a baker's daughter, was a noted distance and cross-country athlete who represented England against France in March 1932. He was educated, first at Cordwalles preparatory school near Camberley, then as a scholarship pupil at Charterhouse, whence he was expelled in 1945 for homosexual activities - this despite his cricketing and scholastic prowess. Amongst his school contemporaries were James Prior, William Rees-Mogg, Oliver Popplewell and Peter May. After completing national service he entered King's College, Cambridge in 1948, to read Classics...
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